FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 4, 2019
CONTACT: Peter Giunta, 347.621.8031
The following statement is from Assemblymember Michael Reilly (R-South Shore) on the New York City Board of Election’s recent announcement of additional early voting poll sites on Staten Island:
“With early voting beginning in as little as three weeks, I am once again renewing my call for Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Board of Elections to reconsider using public, private, and parochial schools as early voting poll sites. Just as I stressed to those officials in May, and to my colleagues in the State Legislature in January, opening our schools to the public for a week to allow for early voting is highly disruptive to school operations and places the safety of our children at risk by allowing total strangers to access the school building.
I have heard from school administrators who felt blindsided by the news that their school building was being selected as an early voting site, and even angered by the fact that they were not consulted before that determination was made; I have heard from teachers who are concerned that the use of their building as an early voting poll site will be disruptive to the school day, especially by prohibiting student’s from accessing their cafeteria, library, or other parts of the building; and, perhaps most importantly, I have heard from parents who are concerned about the safety and security of their children being in a building that is open and accessible to total strangers for a week.
It was unfortunate that after sharing my concerns with the Mayor in a letter this past May, I did not receive a response. Instead I read a headline stating that the Mayor was calling on the Board of Elections to identify additional early voting poll sites throughout the city. I lay the responsibility of ensuring that our children are safe and that the integrity of our education system is preserved solely on Mayor de Blasio. This has left me wondering the following:
- The Specialized High School Admissions Test will be offered to students on the first two days of early voting, Saturday and Sunday, October 26 and 27, respectively. How can we ensure that allowing this type of access to a school building, especially on the first two days when errors are common, will not be disruptive to our student test takers?
- Early voting will be held at these schools for five weekdays, surely prohibiting access to the building’s cafeteria, gymnasium, library, and even the main lobby. What are school administrators expected to do to ensure that their students are able to each lunch and attain the adequate amount of physical exercise required by law? Additionally, what precautions are being taken to ensure that our children will be safe from the strangers who have access to these typically common areas?
- Why were school administrators, who are perhaps the most important stakeholder in this process, not consulted at all about the consideration of their building as an early voting poll site?
I challenge Mayor de Blasio to answer these questions — not for my sake, but because thousands of parents and hundreds of teachers and school administrators would like to know.”